COVID-19 WRAP | SA's Covid-19 death toll increases to 50,366
March 03 2021 - 22:05
More than 80,000 health-care workers vaccinated as first batch of shots used up in two weeks
SA has already used up its first batch of Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines, the health ministry said on Wednesday.
Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said that the number of health-care workers who had received their Covid-19 shots was 83,570 as of 6.30pm on Wednesday.
March 03 2021 - 19:58
France reports 26,788 new coronavirus cases, well below last week's 2021 high
France reported 26,788 new coronavirus infections on Wednesday, down sharply from the 2021 high of 31,519 registered last week Wednesday.
The seven-day moving average of new cases dropped by 676 to 21,272 but remained above 21,000 for the eighth day in a row.
March 03 2021 - 17:26
Fake Covid-19 vaccines seized at Gauteng warehouse: Interpol
International policing authority Interpol on Wednesday said South African authorities had seized hundreds of fake Covid-19 vaccines.
Interpol said about 400 ampoules — equivalent to around 2,400 doses — containing the fake vaccine were found at a warehouse in Germiston, Gauteng. Officers also recovered a large quantity of fake 3M masks.
Three Chinese nationals and a Zambian national were arrested.
March 03 2021 - 16:42
Angola, Congo Republic and Djibouti approve Russia's Sputnik V vaccine -RDIF
Angola, Congo Republic and Djibouti have approved Russia's Sputnik V vaccine against the new coronavirus for emergency use, Russia's RDIF sovereign wealth fund said on Wednesday.
The Russian vaccine has now been approved for use by a total of 42 countries, including Russia, RDIF said.
March 03 2021 - 15:42
'Patients on death's doorstep': Groote Schuur Hospital discharges its 150th ventilated Covid-19 patient
Groote Schuur Hospital staff reached a major milestone this week after discharging their 150th ventilated Covid-19 patient.
They had earlier suffered one of their “lowest lows” when a young surgeon died with Covid-19 on January 18.
But the hospital's critical care director Dr Ivan Joubert said it was days like Monday when their hard work resulted in sweet victory.
March 03 2021 - 14:55
People infected with Covid variant have protection from reinfection - scientists
Scientists have discovered that those infected with 501Y.V2 have a level of protection from previous and current circulating Covid-19 variants.
During a virtual media briefing on the latest scientific results on the Covid-19 variant, Prof Tulio de Oliveira of the KwaZulu-Natal Research Informatics and Sequencing Programme (KRISP) revealed that those infected with 501Y.V2, which was discovered in December, may have immunity against reinfection.
“We detected a new variant with new multiple mutations that it less neutralises and that affected some vaccines' response and, for months, not only scientists but the whole country was hammered from this detection. One thing that we see from these new results is that the plasma collected from people infected with the variant have good neutralising activity against itself as well as the first wave virus, but actually other variants of concern.
March 03 2021 - 13:58
Airline passengers banned from eating on domestic flights - Fikile Mbalula
Domestic air travellers are no longer allowed to carry a takeaway coffee or sandwich on board a flight, or buy anything to eat on board, thanks to a new on-board food ban imposed by the government.
Only bottled water may pass passengers’ lips, according to a notice published in the government gazette by transport minister Fikile Mbalula, effective from Tuesday.
FlySafair, the only domestic airline which had chosen not to sell or provide catering on board since domestic flights were allowed to resume last June, says it’s all about ensuring that passengers don’t have a reason to remove their masks mid-flight for more than a few seconds at a time.
March 03 2021 - 13:47
Interim UK study finds one dose of Covid shots reduces hospitalisation
One dose of either Pfizer-BioNTech's or AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine helps to prevent disease severe enough to require hospitalisation of people in their 80s with other illnesses, interim data from a UK study showed on Wednesday.
The findings, from an ongoing surveillance project funded by Pfizer and known as AvonCAP, found that one dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot, which began to be used in the UK on December 8 2020, was 71.4% effective from 14 days at preventing symptomatic illness severe enough to result in hospitalisation among patients with a median age of 87 years.
For the AstraZeneca vaccine, which began to be rolled out in Britain on January 4, the results showed it was 80.4% effective by the same measures among patients with an average age of 88.
March 03 2021 - 11:56
WATCH | Doctor who treated Gauteng’s patient zero ‘feels great’ after Covid-19 vaccination
Dr Jarrod Zamperini, the physician who treated Gauteng’s patient zero at the Charlotte Maxeke Hospital in March 2020, became the first health worker at the hospital to receive the Covid-19 vaccine on Tuesday.
The hospital launched its vaccination programme after receiving 3,900 jabs on Monday. The health department in Gauteng said more vaccines are expected to arrive next week.
Zamperini was in high spirits and said he felt “great” after receiving the life-saving jab.
March 03 2021 - 11:38
Kenya hails first vaccines as 'bazookas' against Covid-19
Kenya welcomed the arrival of over a million doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine on Wednesday in its first batch under a global plan to ensure equitable distribution.
“We have received ... machine guns, bazookas, and tanks to fight this war against Covid-19,” Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe exulted as the doses arrived at Nairobi's main airport.
With fewer resources and tougher logistics than other regions, African nations are racing to secure the hundreds of million of doses needed to inoculate their populations against the disease and allow the safe reopening of economies.
March 03 2021 - 10:28
First private sector vaccine site for Covid opens in Western Cape
SA’s first private sector vaccination site opened in the Western Cape on Tuesday as the province vaccinated its 13,415th person against Covid-19.
Gatesville Melomed health-care centre will be a dedicated site for private sector health-care workers in the Cape Town metro to receive their vaccines, said Western Cape premier Alan Winde.
By Tuesday 73,000 health-care workers had been vaccinated in SA since the rollout of vaccinations first started on February 17.
March 03 2021 - 10:26
Dutch police: explosive "must have been placed" at coronavirus testing location
Dutch police on Wednesday said a coronavirus testing location appeared to have been intentionally targeted after an explosion went off before the site opened.
The blast in the town of Bovenkarspel, north of the capital Amsterdam, shattered windows but caused no injuries, police said.
The explosive "must have been placed" there, a police spokesman told Reuters.
March 03 2021 - 09:00
Texas governor lifts state's mask mandate, business restrictions
Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued the most sweeping rollback of coronavirus restrictions of any US state on Tuesday, lifting a mask mandate and saying most businesses may open at full capacity next week.
Abbott's executive order comes as many US states and major cities seeing a sharp decline in coronavirus infections and hospitalisation begin to ease the unprecedented lockdowns put in place a year ago.
“It is now time to open Texas 100%," Abbott, a first-term Republican, told a news conference. He said the order would take full effect on March 10.
March 03 2021 - 08:25
South Korea probing two deaths after AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine
South Korean authorities said on Wednesday they are investigating the deaths of two people after a media report said the pair — both with pre-existing conditions — died within days of receiving AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine.
A 63-year-old nursing home patient with cerebrovascular disease developed symptoms, including high fever, after being given the AstraZeneca vaccine, Yonhap news agency reported. The person was moved to a larger hospital on Tuesday, but died after showing symptoms of blood poisoning and pneumonia, Yonhap said.
Another person in their 50s with a cardiac disorder and diabetes died on Wednesday after suffering multiple heart attacks, having received the same vaccine a day earlier, the agency said.